Big Mistakes: Apartment Decorating Tips to Avoid

It can be easy to look up the latest trends and fashions of 2020 apartment décor and put them to work. An appealing color scheme? Check. Great complimentary pieces? Sure thing. Proper use of mirrors and adequate lighting? Tried and true. A minimalistic approach to decluttering? Absolutely.

It’s a little bit harder to recognize when you’ve done something wrong, and as humans, many of us tend to stick to our guns when we’ve made a mistake. So what’s the best way to recognize the error of our methods and rectify it before we’ve gone past the point of no return? Check out this comprehensive list of how not to decorate your apartment this year, and you’ll see the flaws before you’re surrounded by them.

Treating a Studio Apartment as One Room

So you’re excited to decorate your spacious studio apartment, and you’re ready to bring in all your stuff, guns blazing. You decide to throw the couch here, the TV here, a bed there, a microwave here, and you’re set! All of a sudden, you realize your microwave is in the ‘bedroom,’ and you have nowhere to go to relax or distress. Never treat a studio like one big room. 

Creating distinct zones in a studio apartment maximizes valuable space and gets you into an appropriate mindset for each zone. If you need to get work done, you have a desk that faces the wall, set apart from everything else. You can use rugs to differentiate between different areas or color schemes to set spots apart. A proper layout means you have separate spaces for eating, entertainment, sleeping, and working. This way, you never feel overwhelmed, your space never feels cluttered, and you can get in the zone without too much of a struggle. 

Going for a Gigantic Sofa

It can be easy to pick the couch out first before any other pieces of furniture, and naturally, you want to go big, fluffy, and impressive. That’s not always the best option, especially in an apartment. Once you cramp in the sofa, you’re going to have to settle for small supporting furniture that doesn’t complement the space and can even look absurd next to your large couch.

dresser beside sofa

Your living area needs breathing room, so don’t smother it. Go for an armless sofa to maximize space and comfort without sacrificing style. 

Throwing Your Bed Out in the Middle of it All

I bet you can’t wait to get moved in and take a nap, right? Well, we did say you need to separate your bed from, say, the living room, but there’s more to it than that. Even if you have a multi-room apartment, it’s essential to create a visual separation between your bed and the rest of the surrounding space.

throw pillow on bed frame

You can place distinct wallpaper behind your bed and create a little nook by adding cabinets to each side. You’re tucked in and blocked away from the rest of the busy, distracting world around you. Now you can finally get a good night’s rest. 

Being Afraid of Adventure

We’re not advocating that you go ahead and splash paint all over your walls in an effort to appeal to your wild side, but it is okay to explore patterns in a way that emphasizes space and spices up the environment.

Dramatically patterned wallpaper is just busy enough to create depth and character in an otherwise simple space. Experiment with different patterns and styles until you see something that fits. Just keep in mind that an intricate wallpaper pattern requires you to keep clutter to a minimum; otherwise, you’re getting into dangerously busy territory. 

Focusing Entirely on Today’s Fashion

We know how tempting it is to do what I outlined in this article’s introduction—look up what this year has to offer and copy-paste it into your apartment. Trends come and go with the wind, and in a few years, you may end up regretting what you put together. Neutral colors are timeless, along with splashes of bright color. Wall galleries with your favorite pictures will always have a place in your apartment, and you can swap out frames as your tastes or styles change. Remember to make your apartment represent you.

Lacking the Right Light

Many apartments come with too small or too few windows to truly allow for adequate natural lighting. Unfortunately, we’re not going to be installing any new windows on behalf of our landlords, so we have to go another route to let the light shine in.

three drinking glasses on brown wooden table

One quick, easy, inexpensive way to get a little more light is to clean your lighting fixtures more frequently. It only takes a few minutes and requires no special equipment. If you want to go a step further, you can replace any outdated fixtures or fixtures that don’t appeal to the style you want to achieve. Most new fixtures come with everything you need to replace them aside from a little electrical tape. If you aren’t feeling excited about that, you can invest in a stylish floor lamp or table lamp that’s easy to bring along when you want to pack up and find a new apartment. 

How Low Can your Curtains Go? (Not too low, please)

When you hang curtains in a small apartment, you want them to elongate the wall and make the entire room seem more sizeable. You can accomplish this by mounting the rods up high along the wall closer to the ceiling. This creates the illusion of a taller ceiling without much effort. Using track mounting that connects directly to the ceiling is an excellent option; just make sure the curtains hit the floor, or you risk the whole setup looking unfinished or tacky. 

Using Rugs in All the Wrong Places

Rugs are tricky. They can either tie a room together or stand out like a sore thumb.

assorted-color textile lot

To achieve the right look, a rug should take up roughly 50-75% of a room’s space. If the rug is too small, it looks out of place and cheap. Spend the extra money to get a rug worthy of your apartment.